Want a better city but are limited by money? You should invest in active transportation first and foremost. Yet another study has shown that providing spaces for pedestrians and cyclists are a way better investment to improve urban wellbeing than leaving space to metal boxes on wheels. This most recent study comes from New Zealand where they are striving to make cities sustainable and healthy. Some cities try to improve the health and wellbeing of people by asking car owners to “share the road” or “not to murder non-drivers” in safety ads. It turns out the better thing to do is provide physical space for people to enjoy life. Let’s hope a people-first approach is adopted everywhere.
That’s not all. “The study demonstrates that the ‘benefit-to-cost’ ratio of the investment made by two city councils together with the New Zealand Transport Agency is around ten to one,” he says. “The study provides hard evidence of the benefits of investing in walking and cycling infrastructure and educational programmes, which comfortably exceed the costs. This is particularly useful at a time when the government is finalising its policy statement on land transport.”
So what will our cities look like five years from now? Great question. But it seems planners and various officials would do well to consider the benefits of cycleways and walkways – including from a financial standpoint.
Down in New Zealand there’s a fence that people go out of their way to see. This fence was the first of its kind and was built to keep invasive predators out while conserving native species. The fence was built a couple decades ago and was specially designed to protect threatened species in New Zealand that were becoming prey to everything from cats to small mammals. Birds are loving it because their nests are protected while they can still fly away and gather food.
The sanctuary has become a significant tourist attraction in Wellington and is responsible for the greatly increased number of sightings of species such as t?? and k?k? in city’s suburbs.
Sometimes described as the world’s first mainland island sanctuary in an urban environment, the sanctuary has inspired many similar projects throughout New Zealand, with predator-proof fences now protecting the biodiversity of many other areas of forest. Examples include the 7.7-hectare (19-acre) lowland podocarp forest remnant of Riccarton bush/Putaringamotu, the 98-hectare (240-acre) Bushy Park, and the 3,500-hectare (8,600-acre) Maungatautari Restoration Project enclosing an entire mountain.
A man in New Zealand thinks it’s better to create your own piece of paradise than to move to a natural one and just taking it over. Back in 1987 Hugh Wilson moved to a neglected part of the country where the natural environment was not doing well and has since turned it into a veritable paradise. He did so by respecting and encouraging native plants and using a permaculture approach to cultivation. It’s great work and very impressive! Not only did he set out to save a small part of the world, he also wants to encourage everyone to make a small piece of natural paradise in their own space too.
The incredible story of how degraded gorse-infested farmland has been regenerated back into beautiful New Zealand native forest over the course of 30 years.
Fools & Dreamers: Regenerating a Native Forest is a 30-minute documentary about Hinewai Nature Reserve, on New Zealand’s Banks Peninsula, and its kaitiaki/manager of 30 years, botanist Hugh Wilson. When, in 1987, Hugh let the local community know of his plans to allow the introduced ‘weed’ gorse to grow as a nurse canopy to regenerate farmland into native forest, people were not only skeptical but outright angry – the plan was the sort to be expected only of “fools and dreamers”.
Now considered a hero locally and across the country, Hugh oversees 1500 hectares resplendent in native forest, where birds and other wildlife are abundant and 47 known waterfalls are in permanent flow. He has proven without doubt that nature knows best – and that he is no fool.
After a very well managed shutdown of the country, New Zealand is free of COVID-19 and people are able to live as they did before. The country had a strict, vast, and quick reaction to COVID-19 showing up in the nation and it’s paid off. Starting today New Zealanders are able to go gyms, work, parks, or wherever thanks to the efforts in following the government’s public safety rules. It’s great to see another nation get through the pandemic.
Ardern has drawn global headlines and praise from the World Health Organization for her governmentâ€™s approach to the virus, with a strict and cautious approach that appears to have paid off. On 25 March she locked down the country for four weeks â€“ requiring that most New Zealanders remained at home most of the time â€“ before gradually easing restrictions.
â€œOur collective results I think speak for ourselves,â€ Ardern said. â€œThis was what the sacrifice of our team of five million was for â€“ to keep one another safe and to keep one another well.â€ She has regularly referred to New Zealanders as a â€œteam of five millionâ€ in an effort to unite people and encourage them to follow her governmentâ€™s rules to curb the virusâ€™ spread
While Canada continues to condemn the future to climatic destruction by supporting the tar sands, their common wealth partner has decided to plan for the future. New Zealand has declared an all out ban on new offshore drilling projects and have even taken a step further to ban exploration for more stored hydrocarbons. Exploration for oil and gas greatly disturbs marine life forcing whales and fish to leave entire areas because the noise is so deafening.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern continues to do what every other national leader should be doing – acknowledging the current and oncoming challenges of climate change and reacting to it by creating a sustainable economy. It’s great to see New Zealand set itself up for future success while protecting the planet!
“We’re protecting industry and protecting future generations from climate change,” said Ardern.
“This is a responsible step, which provides certainty for businesses and communities that rely on fossil fuels.”
Ardern and the ministers are expected to outline plans for their version of a managed transition towards a carbon-neutral economy by 2050 and a goal of achieving 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2035.